Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Joanne Dixon / Scott Bonner
Declarations of Interest
There were no Declarations of Interest made by Members at this point in the meeting.
The Minutes of the previous Licensing Committee held on 28 February 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.
Exclusion of Press and Public
To consider passing a Resolution Pursuant to Section 100A
(4) Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the
press and public from the meeting during consideration of the
following items on the grounds that if present there would be
disclosure to them of exempt information falling within
paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act
and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs
the public interest in disclosing the information.
ORDERED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that, if present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
Application for Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 04/22
The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration submitted an exempt report in connection with an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 04/22, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.
The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The applicant, who was in attendance at the meeting accompanied by his mother, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report and understood its contents.
The Licensing Manager notified Members that the applicant had contacted him prior to the meeting to advise of an error within the report and that this would be highlighted when providing a summary of the report to Committee.
The Licensing Manager presented a summary of the report. The driver was first licensed with Middlesbrough Council in January 2014 and held a licence until it was revoked with immediate effect on 16 January 2018, following his conviction for the offence at 1) in the report.
On 22 May 2017, the Licensing Department received information from North Yorkshire Police stating that, on 9 January 2017, the applicant was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving. It was stated by the Police that the applicant had been travelling with two male passengers in the rear of his vehicle when they asked him to pull over. As he did so, a male approached the vehicle and there was a heated verbal exchange between the male and the passengers, resulting in the passengers telling the applicant to drive away. The applicant drove away but the male had been leaning into the vehicle and was subsequently dragged approximately 250 feet along the road before the rear window smashed and the male was released. The male sustained injuries as a result of the incident. The driver provided a prepared statement during interview stating that he saw the male and the passengers grappling and he had panicked and kept driving. CCTV footage was reviewed by the CPS and the applicant was subsequently summonsed for the offence of dangerous driving.
On 26 May 2017, a decision was taken by Officers to suspend the applicant’s licence with immediate effect pending the outcome of the investigation.
On 11 January 2018, Licensing Officers conducted an online check of DVLA records which confirmed that the applicant had been convicted of the offence of dangerous driving on 7 November 2017. Officers, therefore, decided to revoke the applicant’s licence with immediate effect. A copy of the revocation letter was attached at Appendix 1.
The applicant now appeared before Committee with a new application and was interviewed by a Licensing Enforcement Officer on 1 March 2022 when he provided an explanation for the offence. The Licensing Manager highlighted that the error contained in the report was with reference to the applicant’s explanation where it states that, at the Court hearing, one of the customers in the applicant’s vehicle admitted he had been travelling to the destination to deal drugs and that this was why ... view the full minutes text for item 21/59
Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.
Update on Licensing Policies
At the request of the Chair, the Licensing Manager provided a verbal update in relation to several Licensing Policies which were due to be renewed imminently. Each of the policies had been drafted to reflect the necessary revisions and were due to be consulted upon.
The key changes for each policy were highlighted as follows:-
Licensing Act Policy – The Cumulative Impact Policy in respect of off-licensed premises would remain in place and it was proposed that it be extended to two additional wards. Retaining and extending the CIP was supported by evidence from Cleveland Police and Public Health.
Gambling Policy – Members were advised that there were no major changes to this Policy and that gambling premises were generally well-regulated by the Gambling Commission and caused very few problems on a day to day basis for Licensing. Members were also updated on the latest position in relation to Casinos in Middlesbrough.
Taxi Licensing Policy
· The vehicle age restriction policy had been amended so that a vehicle could now be first registered up to five years of age and continue to be licensed until its tenth birthday. Previously a vehicle had to be no older than three years on first registration and could be licensed up until its fifth birthday. This amendment followed consultation with the taxi trade and was in line with other local authorities.
· The policy on window tints would be scrapped. This policy was initially introduced some years ago and, over time, privacy glass in vehicles is generally fitted as standard, sometimes meaning that operators had to replace factory fitted windows in vehicles in order to comply. In summary, only standard manufactured tints would be allowed.
· In relation to testing requirements for drivers, it was proposed to remove the questions in relation to the Highway Code and to also remove the knowledge test (in relation to local geography) for private hire vehicle drivers as their booking systems included sat-nav with each booking. It was not proposed to remove the knowledge test for hackney carriage drivers at this stage.
· The full Taxi Licensing Policy would be reflective of the Government’s recommendations to introduce Statutory Minimum Standards for Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles. The main focus of introducing minimum standards was to particularly protect vulnerable children and adults, however, it would be beneficial for all passengers.
· Some of the minimum standards were already in place in Middlesbrough, other standards would see minor changes to current policy and some changes would be more major in nature. For example, policy guidance on conviction tariffs were predominantly met already in Middlesbrough, however, guidelines on drugs offences were set to become much stricter. This would include immediate revocation of a driver’s licence should they fail a drugs test.
· In addition, from 4 April 2022, any individual applying for a taxi/private hire vehicle driver licence or operator’s licence, or a scrap metal dealer’s site/collector, must ensure that they were registered to pay tax. This requirement would also apply to certain ... view the full minutes text for item 21/60